Josh on July 15th, 2013
This isn’t a post about books, or about beer.

Last Monday, Giant Bomb posted that their co-founder Ryan Davis had passed away at age 34. It was a sudden thing, and a big surprise. Like so many others online, I’m trying to process this huge loss and what it means to be connected to others through social media the way we are now. Like so many others, I’ll try and work it out through writing.

Is it self-serving to write about how I feel about the passing of someone whose work I enjoy? Is it disrespectful to memorialize someone who I only knew from the distance of fandom? Possibly. But, the fact is, everyone deals with grief in different ways. Despite having never met Ryan in person (and only interacted with him a handful of times), this is straight-up grief.

Perhaps it’s best to start with a quick primer on Davis. Ryan started work atGamespot in 2000, first as a part-timer drafting support email, and then as a full-time staffer doing written and on-camera work. In 2008, he left the site to co-found Giant Bomb with Jeff Gerstmann. Though I’d read Ryan’s work on and off for years, I really came to know his through the massive amount of content he produced on Giant Bomb. GB is my favorite game site, and that’s largely because it’s primarily personality driven. On screen in scads of videos and as a presenter in Quick Looks, it’s safe to say I heard new stuff from Davis every week.

The biggest contribution to my media diet was the Giant Bombcast, the site’s weekly podcast. The conversational show, which regularly runs over three hours, offers some of the sharpest, smartest, and funniest game coverage online.

In a piece for the New Yorker in 2010, Nicholson Baker referred to the Giant Bombcast as “charmingly garrulous.” Leave it to Baker to boil it down to just two words. The show is slick without ever feeling overproduced, and a lot of the charm can be attributed to Davis, the affable host.

During the Building Community Through Podcasting panel at BEA, all four of us talked about how oddly intimate podcasts are. While you cook, or clean, or drive, or run, or go to sleep, podcast hosts are right there in your ears. It’s a medium that builds fraternity between creator and consumer that few others can match. For me, this was especially true of the Giant Bombcast. Hosted by a bunch of funny guys that are close to me in age and interests, the show often feels like a recording of a discussion I could have with my friends.

I “sat in” on well over 100 hours a year of conversation at Giant Bomb. The podcast acted as a soundtrack for countless trips, freelance gigs, and writing sessions. The guys committed to the brave, bold act of putting themselves out there. It still feels weird to suggest a connection beyond fandom, but these guys gave as well as they got - they shared stories marriages, children, dizzying highs and profound loss. The podcast feels personal because it is personal.

And now, he’s gone. Among the most cliche of cliche things to say when someone passes is that they were “too young,” or “taken too soon.” But goddamn if it isn’t true. He was 34. Within spitting distance of me, and younger than many of my friend and colleagues. I could write plenty on the depth and breadth of the work he left behind, but it doesn’t make it any easier to accept there won’t be any more.

At the end of the day, the thing that inspired me most about Davis was his passion. A passion for humor, for games, for music, for everything. A passion for working with others, and for creating cool shit. He was wacky. And he had a distinct voice, which so many many writers (especially game writers, it seems) struggle to find. He inspired me to be a better writer, and to talk about games critically, and even to start a podcast.

I can only speak to the man as a fan, not a colleague. I can’t speak to his kindness or his work ethic or any of that. In the week following his passing, many have done so ably. I think that Justin McElroyJenn Frank, and Stephen Totilo’s posts really drive home what a big legacy Davis leaves behind in the games media.

(Click those links. Those three are much better writers than I am.)

My heart goes out to Ryan’s wife, his family, and his friends. And, especially, to the team at Giant Bomb. These guys have had to deal with the loss of a friend and colleague under the watch of tens of thousands of people. Seeing their responses this week - on Twitter, in the podcast, and on videos on their site - has been inspiring. The spirit with which they’re remembering Ryan has been encouraging as I’ve dealt with my own feelings. Ryan was a happy guy, and a guy who loved life.

My father (another fountain of endless positivity) once told me that when he dies, if there’s reincarnation, he comes back as himself. I feel like Davis, practically an avatar of happiness, would have felt the same way.

I raise a glass to Ryan Davis. He will be missed.

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Josh on June 5th, 2013

sheWe jumped back to the 19th century for episode 54 of the Bookrageous podcast! After the usual discussion of our current books (towels, werewolves, and craft beer, oh my!), we dig into H Rider Haggard’s genre-defining novel She. Discussion includes love polygons, old movies, and just how Victorian we like our Victorian novels.

Enjoy, subscribe, and let us know what you’d like to see in future episodes.

Show notes (including all books discussed) and an embedded player are below. You can also download the show as an mp3 file.

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Bookrageous Book Club; She

Intro Music; She’s a Rebel by Green Day

What We’re Reading

Jenn

[1:26] Both Flesh and Not, David Foster Wallace

[3:45] In Other Worlds, Margaret Atwood

[4:55] Stiff, Mary Roach

[5:45] The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

Rebecca

[7:00] Red Moon, Benjamin Percy

[9:12] Inferno, Dan Brown

[10:45] Refuge, Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds)

Josh

[13:00] The Audacity of Hops, Tom Acitelli

[16:35] Fear Agent, Rick Remender

[18:20] The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick

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Intermission; Book Club by Arkells

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Book Club; She

[20:45] Shout-out to Project Gutenberg

[22:00] various editions: She (Penguin Classics edition); She (Modern Library, Margaret Atwood introduction)

[46:00] Beowulf on the Beach, Jack Murnighan

[47:15] She (1935)

[52:50] Next book club pick: Tampa, Alissa Nutting (July 1 2013)

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Outro Music; She’s a Rebel by Green Day

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Find Us!

Bookrageous on Tumblr, Podbean, Twitter, FacebookSpotify, and leave us voicemail at 347-855-7323

Find Us Online: JoshJennRebecca

Order Josh’s book! Maine Beer: Brewing in Vacationland

Come to our party! May 29, 7 p.m., at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

Bookrageous Book Club Pick: Tampa, Alissa Nutting (July 1 2013)

Get Bookrageous schwag at CafePress

Note: Our show book links direct you to WORD, an independent bookstore in Brooklyn. If you click through and buy the book, we will get a small affiliate payment. We won’t be making any money off any book sales — any payments go into hosting fees for the Bookrageous podcast, or other Bookrageous projects. We promise.

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amazon-goodreadsimage via

In which we have a (mostly reasonable) discussion about Amazon and Goodreads, buying bananas in the winter, the best way to track a TBR list, talking about books on the internet, and more.

Enjoy, subscribe, and let us know what you’d like to see in future episodes.

Show notes (including all books discussed) and an embedded player are below. You can also download the show as an mp3 file.

Bookrageous Episode 54; Our Digital Reading Lives

Intro Music; Tumble and Fall by Elijah Ocean

What We’re Reading

Rebecca

[1:30] Fingersmith, Sarah Waters

[3:15] The Last Girlfriend on Earth, Simon Rich

[5:05] The Siren, Tiffany Reisz

Josh

[7:35] Bookrageous Episode 46: Comfort Food Books

[8:10] Hawkeye: My Life As A Weapon, Matt Fraction, David Aja, Javier Pulido

[9:30] Fury Max: My War Gone By, Garth Ennis, Goran Parlov

[10:40] The Citizen’s Constitution: An Annotated Guide, Seth Lipsky

[11:20] Hothouse: The Art of Survival and the Survival of Art at America’s Most Celebrated Publishing House,

Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, Boris Kachka

[12:50] Saga, Vol. 1, Brian K Vaughan, Fiona Staples

Jenn

[14:20] The Dark is Rising: The Complete Sequence, Susan Cooper

[16:40] How to Be a Good Wife, Emma Chapman (Turn of Mind)

[18:15] The Ice-Shirt, William T. Vollmann

Intermission; Rumble and Sway by Jamie N Commons

Managing Our Digital Reading Lives

[21:00] Goodreads and Amazon

[23:25] LibraryThing

[35:05] Alternatives to Amazon: Powells.comBetter World Books

[46:30] Why Have Kids?, Jessica Valenti

[47:45] Traps, Mackenzie Bezos

Outro Music; Tumble and Fall by Elijah Ocean

Find Us!

Bookrageous on Tumblr, Podbean, Twitter, FacebookSpotify, and leave us voicemail at 347-855-7323

Find Us Online: JoshJennRebecca

Preorder Josh’s book! Maine Beer: Brewing in Vacationland

Come to our party! May 29, 7 p.m., at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

Bookrageous Book Club Pick: She, by H. Rider Haggard (available at used bookstores and from Project Gutenberg)

Get Bookrageous schwag at CafePress

Note: Our show book links direct you to WORD, an independent bookstore in Brooklyn. If you click through and buy the book, we will get a small affiliate payment. We won’t be making any money off any book sales — any payments go into hosting fees for the Bookrageous podcast, or other Bookrageous projects. We promise.

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Josh on January 4th, 2013

Shipyard worker in for a beer after work. A bar just outside the Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine

Shipyard worker in for a "beer" after work. A bar just outside the Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine. 1944.

You may have noticed that it’s been a bit a little while some time about four months since the last update to Brews and Books. Sorry about that. Here’s what happened.

Back at the start of the year, I announced that I was working on a book about Maine beer and brewing, to be published in 2013 by The History Press. I also promised that I’d endeavor to stick with the steady updates to BrewsAndBooks.com that I’d been making for years. While I’m happy to report that the first part has gone swimmingly, I haven’t stuck to that second bit.

I wish I had a better excuse than “dude, I’ve been super busy,” but there it is. Between full-time bookselling, the book, and various other projects, I’ve let this site slip to the side. After years of regular updates to Brews and Books - often multiple 1,000+ word posts a week - I’ve committed the cardinal blogging sin of blogfading.

That said, I’m nearing the end of the tunnel now. My manuscript will be in the hands of my wonderful editors next month, and I’ve come out on the other side of a busy holiday season of bookselling. It will take some time to get back up to speed, but I’ll be getting back to writing about beer, books and comics here at BrewsAndBooks.com. Expect all the unbridled enthusiasm and hyperbole you’ve come to expect from me over the years.

In the meantime, I do have a bit of writing to share. Despite my neglect of this blog, I’ve had plenty of other non-book writing to keep me busy. This spring I wrote a feature (my first cover feature!) for The Portland Phoenix about the Maine Comics Arts Festival. I also contributed to a book called Read This! (my first published non-periodical work!), which came out this fall. I’ve kept up with my regular writing on iFanboy and for the Maine Sunday Telegram, and I’ve continued to co-host and co-produce the Bookrageous podcast with my pals Jenn and Rebecca.

Below, you’ll find links to the book, the feature, some of my favorite articles and columns of 2012, and the last few Bookrageous podcasts. It doesn’t make up for the  lack of updates over the last few months, but hopefully the 10,000+ words and hours of audio provide at least a bit of entertainment.


Read This! Handpicked Favorites from America’s Indie Bookstores

Getting Ready for the Maine Comics Arts Festival

On Public Radio, talking about the best books of 2012

iFanboy

iFanboy’s Best of 2012: The Best Non-Fiction Comics

Comic Book Moonlighting

Comic Shots: The Rime of the Modern Mariner and Pilgrim’s Dole

Comic Shots: The Stereotypical Freaks and Brewdog’s Punk IPA

Comic Shots: One Dead Spy and a Stone Fence

Arcade Brewery Kickstarts Comics and Craft Beer

The Maine Sunday Telegram

Skiing in Maine: Just resolve to hit the slopes soon

Skiing in Maine: Stuff those stockings with skis, accessories

Skiing in Maine: Early season skiing brings the passionate back to the slopes

Worth the Trip: Rangeley’s range of outdoor activities makes it a favorite

Shawnee yurt provides right amount of comfort

‘Up’ chronicles hiking adventures of mother, daughter

Bookrageous

Bookrageous 47; 2012 Favorites

Bookrageous 46; Comfort Food Books

Bookrageous 45; Telegraph Avenue

Bookrageous 44; 2-Year Anniversary Special